Cost, convenience, and quality are features healthcare consumers cherish. The challenge for healthcare consumers is to find a facility that offers all three. While they can certainly find quality care that’s convenient in their local emergency room, the cost for that care is high. A traditional primary care practice is also a good choice for quality care, but while the cost is going to be much lower than in the ED the patient may have to wait days (or longer) to be seen. Not so convenient.
Compared with those settings, only urgent care can claim cost, quality, and convenience as fundamental attributes. And according to data recently published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, based on 142 million primary care visits by patients insured by a single commercial payer, more people are choosing urgent care than ever before, at the expense of visits to traditional primary care.